Widely considered to be the best player in the world, current Ballon d'Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo knows he will have to fight for the chance to win match Lionel Messi's record as a five-time winner. The Argentine surpassed the previous record of three Ballon d'Or trophies, held by Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten until 2012.
Although Messi and Ronaldo are expected to battle it out once more for the crown this season, the Portuguese superstar has also named a South American duo and Polish international that could challenge for the accolade this time round, according to Marca.
Of course, it is always going to be a fight between us," Ronaldo said on a recent trip to China. "I'm there along with [Lionel] Messi, Neymar, [Robert] Lewandowski and [Gonzalo] Higuaín...
"That kind of fighting and competition is healthy and that is what motivates me, being better than them year after year," he continued. "The best always try to compete with the best, it keeps you sharp. You know you can never lose focus because others will overtake you."
Ronaldo has been in the top three shortlist for the Ballon d'Or in nine of the last ten years, missing out on a place in 2010 to Andrés Iniesta and Xavi, along with the winner that year Messi. The former Manchester United star will be keen to overtake Messi as the most successful player in Ballon d'Or history and cement himself as the greatest footballer of all time.